Campus Life

Texas A&M Names Five Faculty Members Distinguished Professors

March 29, 2018

Distinguished Professor Award
Distinguished Professor Award.
By Texas A&M University Academic Affairs Communications Staff

Texas A&M University today recognized five of its most outstanding faculty members with one of its highest honors: the title of University Distinguished Professor.

The five new University Distinguished Professors join more than 90 current faculty members who hold the title. The designation identifies faculty members who are preeminent in their fields, who have made at least one seminal contribution to their discipline, and whose work is central in any narrative of the field and is widely recognized to have changed the direction of scholarship in the field.

“University Distinguished Professors represent the highest level of achievement for our faculty,” said Dr. Carol A. Fierke, provost and executive vice president. “They are recognized as preeminent scholars in their fields and their accomplishments are exemplified by seminal contributions to their respective disciplines. They demonstrate to the world the high quality of scholarship underway at Texas A&M University.”

For 2018, the new University Distinguished Professors are:

Vytas Bankaitis.

Vytas A. Bankaitis, professor, Department of Molecular and Cellular Medicine, College of Medicine and professor of biochemistry and biophysics, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, holder of the E.L. Wehner-Welch Foundation Chair in Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, College of Science. Bankaitis has made groundbreaking contributions in the field of phosphoinositide signal transduction. His laboratory discovered that lipid signaling is an essential regulatory component of membrane trafficking—a discovery that opened a new field in cell biology.

 Timothy R. Elliott.

Timothy R. Elliott, professor, Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education & Human Development. Elliott has changed the science of rehabilitation psychology. One of his greatest accomplishments is in the field of telehealth. Because of Elliott’s research and innovative vision for training students, the doctoral program in counseling psychology at Texas A&M is the only accredited U.S. program that staffs and manages a telepsychology clinic that provides training and clinical services.

Stephen Maren.

Stephen Maren, professor and holder of the Claude H. Everett Jr. ’47 Chair, Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, College of Liberal Arts. He is a behavioral neuroscientist that specializes in the neurobiology of learning and memory. Maren has made several seminal contributions to uncovering the neurobiological basis of emotional learning and memory, particularly memory of fearful experiences. Each of these contributions has driven new empirical and theoretical work in the field and has been foundational to understanding the basic synaptic and circuit mechanisms underlying both normal and pathological fear memories.

Ryland Young

Ryland F. Young III, professor, Regents Professor and Sadie Hatfield Professor of Agriculture, Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Young’s research is focused on bacterial viruses, also known as bacteriophage or phage. He and his colleagues have made a series of pioneering discoveries that have enhanced not only our understanding of phage, but also of bacteria themselves.

Guoliang Yu.

Guoliang Yu, professor and holder of the Powell Chair in Mathematics, Department of Mathematics, College of Science. Yu is recognized for his contributions, which are central for a rather large area of mathematics, centering on problems such as the Baum-Connes conjecture, the Novikov conjecture, and related geometric properties of groups. The techniques he developed are fundamental for that field. He is one of the world leaders in the area of noncommutative geometry.


Media contact: Keith Randall, Marketing & communications, at (979) 845-4644 or

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